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  • Credit: Manu Palomeque

    Credit: Manu Palomeque

  • Credit: Heather Tait

    Credit: Heather Tait

  • Credit: Manu Palomeque

    Credit: Manu Palomeque

  • Credit: Heather Tait

    Credit: Heather Tait

  • Credit: Heather Tait

    Credit: Heather Tait

  • Credit: Manu Palomeque

    Credit: Manu Palomeque

  • Credit: Heather Tait

    Credit: Heather Tait

This summer, Turner Contemporary’s summer exhibition Animals & Us attracted 184,820 visits, which featured artworks by international artists including Mark Dion, Laura Ford, Raqib Shaw, George Stubbs and JMW Turner. At a time when scientists are warning of the 3rd mass extinction on earth, the exhibition questioned the relationship between humans and animals. Animals & Us was Turner Contemporary’s third most visited exhibition since the gallery opened in 2011 and this year’s figures represent a growth of 20% compared to last year.

A popular addition to the gallery’s summer season was Paula the Polar Bear, a life-size puppet operated by two puppeteers. Paula drew visitors to Margate for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience what it feels like to stand next to a polar bear. Paula was loaned from Greenpeace, and inspired visitors to think about climate change. On the days that Paula performed at the gallery, there were over 32.8k visits.

The exhibition was popular with visitors, over a thousand of whom contributed to the gallery’s digital display and shared their own images of pets, as well as portraits and selfies featuring local artist, Sophie Dodgson’s animal masks. One visitor commented on social media; “sad to see you go #Animals&Us @TCMargate I have marvelled over this exhibition on many occasions!” Another said; Where else could you see a Picasso, Freud, Emin, Turner, Warhol and Beatrix Potter all in the same place?? Such a great visit - thank you!” The exhibition was featured widely in the press with features in The Guardian, The Week and The Telegraph among others.

On the final weekend of Animals & Us, Turner Contemporary hosted ‘Turner & Pooch’, a dog friendly weekend, which attracted 140 dogs and their owners to the gallery’s terrace. Local photographer Heather Tait took dog portraits, RNLI gave advice on keeping dogs safe on the beach, and Angels 4 Dogs provided information on rehoming rescue dogs. Dog toys for the weekend were donated by Dog Store Canterbury, remaining products have been passed on to Angels 4 Dogs.

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Turner Contemporary’s summer season was supported by our annual Business Circle, a select group of leading Kent businesses. Miles & Barr, Boys & Maughan Solicitors and McCabe Ford Williams were the founding members of the Summer 2017 Business Circle. In 2017, Ramsgate-based architects del Renzio & del Renzio and Canterbury Auction Galleries joined. This year, we were thrilled to welcome MillChris Developments Ltd to the circle.

Victoria Pomery OBE, Director at Turner Contemporary said:

"This summer at Turner Contemporary was extraordinary. The galleries were filled with people engaging with important ideas around climate change and the future of our planet. Paula the Polar Bear brought the conversation to life and captured the imaginations of children and adults alike, taking the exhibition beyond the building's walls. It is fantastic to have welcomed so many visitors to the gallery and to Margate and to see that our audiences continue to grow. None of this would have been possible without the exceptional hard work of our staff and trustees, and the support of donors, patrons, sponsors and visitors – thank you."

Posted by: Turner Contemporary on Wed 17 Oct 2018